Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) is a vegetable used for preparing the popular Bitter leaf soup. It is also known as Onugbu, Shiwaka & Ewuro by the Igbos, Hausas&Yorubas in Nigeria.
Although this plant has been around for hundreds of years, only a few people know of its medicinal and healing properties.
Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) as the name implies, is actually a bitter plant whose leaves, extracts, stems and barks are used for culinary,medicinal and curative purposes.
Vitamins in Bitter leaf includes;Vitamin A, Vitamin C ,Vitamin E, Vit.B1 and Vit.B2.
My grandma was a big fan of the bitter leaf juice, and on one of my visits she made me drink the juice to cure a fever. I hated the bitter taste, at that time, but when I realized the fever was gone, I humbly joined the Bitter leaf fan club … ☺ …. those grey hair on her head ain’t there for nothing, Right?.
|Bitter leaf and Spinach Juice|
Well, to get the best results from the bitter leaf plant, it’s best taken freshly squeezed from the leaves.
How to extract the Bitter leaf Juice
This can be done, the old school way of rubbing the clean leaves in between your palms with the help of a little water and squeezing out the juice from the leaves.
You can also use a juicer or blend the leaves with a little water, in a blender and strain out the extract with a cheese cloth, coffee strainer or a sieve with a tight mesh.
Bitter leaf juice on its own, is quite bitter and this taste might be a turn off for a lot of people.
So to reduce the bitterness of the bitter leaf juice, simply blend it with spinach or Ugwu (fluted pumpkin). If you still find it extremely bitter, then add some sweet fruit juices to it, such as pineapple , apples or oranges.
Dry bitter leaf is also potent, but has to be properly cleaned before use.
Some of the health benefits of Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina);
* It speeds up metabolism and therefore is great for weight loss.
* Bitter leaf juice relieves fever and feverish conditions. Take the squeezed juice, 3 times daily until the symptoms disappears.
* It also helps to reduce high sugar level in the blood, and great for diabetic patients.
* Squeeze the fresh leaves on your palm and apply the juice on skin rashes,eczema, ring worms and any superficial skin ailments, you’ll notice a change in few days. Don’t apply to open wounds.
* Bitter leaf is said to soothe and also cure pile .
* Taking a cup of bitter leaf juice a day, is a great way to detoxify the body of harmful toxins.
* Bitter leaf juice nourishes the skin.
* Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) also cures mild stomach ailments
* Bitter leaf juice is said to increase breast milk production in nursing mothers.
* The washed roots and stalks of bitterleaf are boiled and the infusion is taking as a worm expeller. A cup of bitter leaf infusion taking first thing in the morning before meals
* Bitter leaf juice is used by local women in Guinea-Bissau to contract the uterus after childbirth and therefore should not be taking during pregnancy or if you’re trying to conceive,because high intake might cause miscarriage.
* A cup of bitter leaf juice a day, energizes you…o yes it does.
|Bitter leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)|
|Dried Bitter leaves|
For Research references:
* Ijeh II, Ejike CECC (2011). “Current perspectives on the medicinal potential of Vernonia amygdalina Del”. J Med Plant Res 5 (7): 1051–1061…
*Kokwaro, John (2009). Medicinal Plants of East Africa 3rd ed. Nairobi, Kenya: University of Nairobi Press. ISBN 9966-846-84-0.
This article is for educational purposes only, Always seek medical advise before you try anything new *
BY Nky Lily Lete